Home | What's New | Search | Email me



This article contributed by permission-Mildred Ella Deason-2004
Submitted By Ed H. Jones on behalf of Mildred & Edith Deason

The following three articles are from--- Our History 1878 – 1976, a booklet which was distributed by the town of Parrish, Alabama as a contribution to the United States Bicentennial Celebration of 1976.




From 1880, the following were heads of the public school system:  C. Appling, M. M. Stephenson, J. H. Stephenson, J. H. Robinson, T. C. Hutto, Clyde Wade, Jr., J. W. Smith, A. L. Hendrix, Bert T. Murphee and Ira L. Helms.

Professor Helms was the first high school principal in a brand new building costing $15,000, which opened for the fall term in 1925. He was born in Clio, Alabama on February 7, 1895.

In 1941, the Parrish High Principal was M. G. Couch.

In 1944, the following principals served the Parrish Schools:  Parrish High, J. H. Beasley; Parrish Elementary, E. A. Evans; The Negro School, L. D. Thomas.

According to a full page news article written about Parrish in the Birmingham News on January 25, 1925, the Grammar School was a white frame building on a hilltop southeast of the old depot.  Four grades were taught there with attendance of about 200.  The building had four classrooms and an auditorium. Miss Edna Simpson was principal.  Teachers were:  Miss Minnie Stubbs, Miss Myrtle Hutto, and Miss Nell Tom Dickey.  Miss Jean Chenault was the elocution teacher and Mrs. Brock taught music.





By Edith Deason

 (Note:Mrs. Deason died in 1984.  Permission to reproduce this article was given by her daughter, Mildred Ella Deason, of Parrish, Alabama.)

 The oldest school I can find in this vicinity was at Providence in 1849.  Jasper R. Jones taught school there.  He had a six weeks writing school, later a six week Geography, and so on.  He was a very well educated man; knew Latin and French as well as English since his grandfather came from England in 1775.

Cassandra Jones taught at Mt. Hope several years.  She was teaching there the year that public funds were first made available.  It may be said she started the first nursery school for she had three children, a girl, Bashie, a boy, Pickens, and a baby, Chester.  She arranged a corner of the house as a playing place for the baby.

America School was at the Zion Church, then moved down to the mining camp at the America Mines.  Henry Odom and Henry Douglas were two of the teachers.

The first school in Parrish, as such, was near the Clements’ place.  It was a one-room school house and a Mr. Whatley taught there.  Later the Hill School over to left after one crosses the Southern R. R. was an improvement.  It was a two story structure, painted white, with more than one teacher.

The first high school was in 1925 where the elementary school is now.  All students went to Jasper to high school until then.  Some of the teachers were:  Storey, Helms, Vicks, Roberts, Couch, Beasley, Bailey, Lockeridge, Henslee, Wade, Hardiman, and Harland, the present principal.

Pearl Key, Ruth Richards, Minnie Michael and Edith Deason are among the teachers who taught in Parrish High School for 35 to 45 years.

The coaches were:  Douglass, Kelley, Hutto, Elbert Deason, Foster Hutto, Cupe Perry, Leon Short, George Harland.  These are the ones I remember.

The present high school was erected about 1937.  Then the elementary was moved to the old high school.

At first the one room houses were used as church houses, election place and for funerals and any other event which called for a gathering of the people.

Many of our people had good educations and wanted their children to have better advantages.  Several families boarder (sic) their children at Oakman to attend the academy there.  Many stayed in Jasper to attend school there.  Some of our oldest residents are well educated.  One could get a degree in law in Jasper at that time.  Our men who became doctors went to Memphis.  Our teachers took an examination in Jasper to get a teaching certificate.  We have produced more doctors, and teachers than any other place.  In fact, we the people of Parrish take pride in our schools and work hard to better the conditions.

 (Note:  Mrs. Edith [Jones] Deason, b. 1901, was the first child of Albert Pickens Jones, Sr. and Ella [Key] Jones and was a descendant of Wallis & Susan [Beavert] Jones and John & Belinda[Milstead] Key, two of the earliest families to settle in Walker County, Alabama.)



By Paul L. Key

The first school house was located on top of the hill at or probably a little north of where Lacy Clements now lives.  School terms were short, lasting from about four to seven months each year.  The one room was approximately 40 feet x 30 feet or possibly a little larger.

 This school building for the first few years was used as a meeting place for the different denominations and for public meetings of various kinds.  The first teacher I can remember was Mr. Alonzo Douglas and well do I remember my first and only day that I attended that school year.  He gave me a whipping and I refused to go back.  My parents did not make me and my mother taught me my ABC’s and how to read.  I intended to play hookey if they had tried to make me.  I well remember our schools trustees; Moses Stephenson, Will Thompson and L. V. Covin.  They were very good men and were instrumental in establishing the first churches in Parrish.

 In about the year 1914, to build a new school building the patrons of the school got together and raised enough money to do so and after much squabbling, it was built on the site of the present Robert Thompson Home which was donated by, I think, Berk Odom and George Plylar.  It consisted of a hallway and four rooms on the ground floor and an upstairs auditorium which was used for public gatherings and school plays, etc.  This school building was abandoned when the now elementary was erected and used for both a high school and an elementary school.



© 2003-2004  by Claudia Fields Kraemer. All rights reserved. This information may be used by libraries and genealogical societies; however, commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior permission of the owners. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information. All images used on these pages were obtained from sources permitting free distribution, or generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages does so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.